Banquet Piece, Pieter Claez

Monday, April 4, 2016

Louis Prevost Nursery in San Jose

From San Jose News, January 27, 1942
Louis Prévost had one of the first "Pleasure gardens" in San Jose. Mrs. Mattie Reed Lewis saw the first La France rose in his garden. La France is considered the first hybrid tea rose. He also possibly inspired B.S. Fox and John Rock in their nursery endeavors.He brought the first or some of the first California fan palm seeds to San Jose.

This article says his property is now Live Oak Park. Lots of live oaks. Where was this park?

There is a picture of his home that was "bounded by Guadalupe River, a line just north of San Carlos street, and what is now Spencer Avenue and West William Street." Definitely confusing directions! There is a Prevost Street near Spencer. Need old map!

What I found was a 1956 map pre-freeway map. It looks like it is exactly where the Children's Discovery Museum is located!

He died in 1869, according to the photo.

On a Search for Old Palms

Marked up Brainard map from the 
1880 Santa Clara County Brainard Agricultural Atlas.
Individual maps are accessed on right hand side. 
This is the Berryessa & Milpitas districts map.
The green outline is a golf course! 
See next map.

John Rock's nursery in the 1880's was near Wayne Station. This map overlay (onto Google Earth) shows where his property lies, outline in blue. His future partner R.D. Fox (& his wife) has two nursery properties, outlined in red.

An excellent lead is that Chilean wine palms are in these areas.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Why Canary Island Palms?

Canary Island palms at entrance
to California Nursery Historical Park
Why would the Franciscan fathers have brought the Canary Island ornamental palm with them when they came to California? What good were they?

Most of us grumble when the fronds drop. The fronds can't be put in the green bin, because they are too hard to shred. The fruit is mostly pit. There must have been some redeeming quality that us modern folks don't know.

Lots of theories...

  1. In a landscape with few trees, they can help you find the mission from a distance. But it takes years and years for them to get tall. 
  2. The sturdy frond petioles could be used for something, surely?
  3. Fronds could be used as thatch?
  4. Wine?